Types of Fostering
In Worcestershire there are various ways in which foster carers
can give support to local children and their families, all of which
are greatly valued.
There is no such thing as a typical fostering situation and the
care of a child or children could last anything from a few days to
Children and young people come into public care for a variety of
reasons, and most of them return home after a relatively short
period of time.
At the other extreme, if the child cannot return to their birth
family, and the decision is to look for an adoptive home, this
will be carefully planned. It is likely that foster carers will
look after the child and help them think about what the future
holds whilst a new, permanent family is found for them.
There are many situations which fall in between those described
above, and if you decide to progress through the approval process
in order to become a foster carer, you will have plenty of
opportunity to explore which type of fostering would be right for
you and your family.
Further information on the different types of fostering can be
found by following these links:
Short Term, or Task Centred Fostering
Some children need to be cared for away from their home for a
short period of time. This is often so that decisions can be made
about their future. If there are brothers and sisters, every effort
is made to keep siblings together in the same foster family – sadly
this can't always happen. It is important for us to find as many
foster carers as possible who could consider caring for more than
one child at a time.
There is no typical reason for a child or children needing to be
looked after by a foster carer. We will always try to keep children
with their families and offer support to enable this to happen,
rather than look after them away from their homes and families.
When children do need to be cared for away from their homes, this
could be because their family is experiencing a crisis, and has
requested that their child is looked after for a short time while
they sort out their difficulties. Alternatively, children may have
experienced some form of abuse, trauma or neglect which has
resulted in them being placed elsewhere for their own safety.
Children who are looked after by foster carers in the short term
can be any age. All children will experience distress at being
separated from their family and are likely to show some emotional
reaction to this. Short term fostering can be for a period of days,
weeks or sometimes months. Sometimes decisions about the child's
future cannot be made quickly and placements can last a year or
longer. Generally most children return to the care of their family
unless it is unsafe for them to do so.
Long Term Fostering
If a child is unable to return to the care of their birth
family, but adoption is not appropriate for that child, long term
foster carers may need to be found to care for them.
As the title suggests, these foster carers will normally care
for a child for a longer period of time than a short term carer –
often through to independence. Children who need long term
fostering are likely to be older children (not usually younger than
7 years old). These older children may benefit from keeping in
regular contact with their brothers, sisters, parents and wider
Children in long term placements may stay with their foster
carers until they leave home to live independently. However, it may
be that changes occur and decisions can be made which result in a
child returning to the care of their parents earlier than
Long term fostering allows children and young people to live
with a family where they can feel secure and experience a stable
family environment, while maintaining contact with their birth
family where that's right for them. Foster families who can open
their homes to these children right the way through to independence
are currently being sought by the Fostering Service.
Respite foster care is time limited. A respite foster carer
could care for a child for a week or two at a time, for example
during school holidays, or at weekends – and could be the same
child on a regular basis. Foster carers who offer respite fostering
generally look after children who are already cared for on a full
time basis by other foster carers. This respite period can benefit
both the foster carer and the child.
A foster carer who is approved as a short term or long term
carer can also provide respite care if they have the capacity.
Parent and Child Placements
Parents, particularly very young mothers, who are unable to meet
the child's most basic needs and protect them, will sometimes need
somewhere to live where they can be supported in looking after
their baby or young child.
This type of foster placement can help a family to stay
together, and is therefore highly valued. The foster carer would be
asked to give practical and emotional support to help the parent to
develop the skills required to meet their own and their child's
needs. This will form part of an assessment period that is usually
limited to a few months.
Some children's experiences have been so difficult or traumatic
that they are unable to be cared for in a mainstream foster family.
For example, the children may need to be supervised closely, have a
medical condition that requires round-the-clock care, display
challenging behaviour, or find it hard to form relationships.
With these children in mind, Worcestershire County Council has
developed the Contract Care Scheme. Foster carers who provide care
under this scheme will have substantial fostering experience or
have worked in a childcare setting where they have developed the
skills required to care for children with complex needs.
Children living with Contract Carers would have at least one
carer at home full time. All Contract Care placements are time
limited and carers approved for the scheme work closely with the
child as a part of the team, towards goals agreed with the child's
- Adoption UK
Adoption UK is a
national charity run by and for adopters, providing self-help
information, advice, support and training on all aspects of
adoption and adoptive parenting
- British Association for Adoption and
The Homepage for a British charity that supports
children who are adopted or fostered
- Children's Legal
Provide free independent legal advice to children, parents and
- Family Rights Group (FRG)
Provides advice to parents and family members whose children are
involved with or require social care services
- Department of Health
of an organisation that resolves issues to do with health
- The Grandparents'
Supports grandparents who are caring for their grandchildren
on a full-time basis and those who have lost or are losing contact
- Grandparents Plus
Champions the role of grandparents and the wider family in
children's lives, especially when they take on the caring
The Homepage of a
charity who want to safeguard all children
- Family Lives
The Homepage of
a website that helps parents deal with family lives
- Somebody Else's
The Homepage full of information on
privately fostering children
- The Fostering Network
Homepage of the UK's leading charity for foster care
Advocacy organisation for
children living away from home or in need
- Young Minds
organisation that works to improve the emotional wellbeing and
mental health of children and young people and empowering their
parents and carers
We are not responsible for the content of external sites.
This page was last reviewed 12 April 2013 at 17:06.
The page is next due for review 9 October 2014.